“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” - Henry Kissinger
I’ve never been much of a risk-taker, but yesterday, with a single touch of my finger, I, a liberal Democrat, voted for Bobby Jindal, a conservative Republican, for governor of Louisiana. He won the election, and I’m counting on him not to let me down.
Though I definitely lean to the left of moderate, I’ve always tried to vote for the candidate, not the party. This isn’t the first time I’ve crossed party lines, but it’s the scariest time. I’m sickened and saddened by what the current administration has done to our country, and I don’t want to be responsible for electing someone who might perpetuate more of the same.
I knew even as I pushed that button yesterday that I disagreed strongly with Jindal’s positions on several political issues, but I don’t think those issues are of immediate concern, either to me or to the candidate. I voted for him because he, among all the candidates, is the one who gave me hope.
Someone said once that the problem with Louisiana is that there’s such a high level of satisfaction with the lifestyle here that many people never leave, and that people who never go anywhere else can’t imagine that things could be any better. I think that’s true. The flip side of that problem is that many of our college-educated people do leave. There aren’t enough jobs here for highly educated people, and without an educated work force, we can't attract the kind of businesses that will boost our economy.
Smart isn’t everything, but I want a leader who is smart. Bobby Jindal is. I want a leader who is concerned about all the people, not just those with money enough to make campaign contributions, and I think this man cares. I want a leader who looks forward, not back, and I believe this governor-elect is focused on raising our state from its standard position near the bottom of the “best” lists. I want a leader who is a doer, not just a “decider.” When I watched TV as Hurricane Katrina turned South Louisiana into a high-water Hell, I saw Bobby Jindal getting things done while other politicians stood around waiting for direction.
I’ve often pondered the irony that for all my liberal leanings and progressive, independent thinking, I ended up plopped down in the middle of the land of the good ol’ boys, destined to feel like an outsider even after 29 years, and still, for the most part, to feel content. Unfortunately, the discontented part of me has grown in the past few years. It’s grown in direct proportion to the bungling, on every level from local to national, of those we’ve elected to look out for us.
I made a huge leap of faith when I pushed that button yesterday, and I pray to God I didn’t make a mistake. If time proves that my faith wasn’t justified, I hope you’ll all remind me of that–-mercilessly--before the next major election. In the meantime, I’d like to read your thoughts and comments (but not political arguments; save those for your own blog) about what you look for in a leader.